We are broadly interested in understanding agricultural sustainability and how to farm with nature. In particular, we focus on why there are insect pests and how they continue to be so successful.
Humans have strongly influenced insect pest evolution, genetics, and ecology by selecting particular strains of crop plants, cultivating crops, and moving them around the world. Our research focuses on how these human-mediated historical ecological, evolutionary, and anthropogenic changes have facilitated insect pest outbreaks in agricultural systems.
By contrasts insects in their native systems with our current agricultural systems, we can start to understand how changes to the landscape, agroecosystems, crop plants, and the insects themselves have led to pest outbreaks. Our research studies these themes to determine how we can use ecological and evolutionary information to improve sustainable pest management.
Dr. Yolanda Chen
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT 05401
Phone: (802) 656-2627
Keywords that describe our interests: insect ecology, populations genetics, evolutionary ecology, agriculture, domestication, rapid evolution, biogeography, phylogeography, invasive species, host range expansions